O’Malley names Hershey to Pipkin Senate seat on Upper Shore

September 18, 2013

Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed first-term Del. Stephen Hershey to fill the seat vacated by Sen. E.J. Pipkin in District 36 – breaking a tie among the GOP central committees of Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. They were split between Hershey and his colleague in the House of Delegates, Del. Mike Smigiel. O’Malley said his decision was based on recognition of broader support for Hershey in District 36. He also said the choice should not have been his to make. [...more]

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Del. Hershey asks commissioners to support Senate bid using official stationery, apparent ethics violation

September 4, 2013

Del. Steve Hershey has lobbied county commissioners in Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Cecil for letters of support to the governor in his bid to fill the seat vacated by Sen. E.J. Pipkin in District 36. But he has done so using his official legislative letterhead — prohibited under ethics rules established by the legislature. [...more]

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29,000 people of both parties voted for Pipkin, but just 32 Republicans get to choose replacement; Wargotz applying

August 19, 2013

In 2010, 46,000 people in four counties on the upper Eastern Shore participated in electing the state senator for District 36, and less than half of them were registered Republicans. Yet 29,000 of these voters chose to reelect Republican Sen. E.J.Pipkin, who resigned Aug. 12. By Sept. 10, 32 people or less, all of them members of the Republican Central committees from the four counties, will get to choose his successor. [...more]

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Smigiel will seek Pipkin’s seat

August 7, 2013

Del. Mike Smigiel said he has put his name in for the nomination to replace Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who will resign effective August 12. Republican Central Committees from the four Upper Shore Counties will submit a name or names to the governor. Pipkin announced Monday he would resign to earn a master's degree in sports management at Southern Methodist University in Texas. [...more]

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State prepares for former inmates to sign up for Medicaid

July 11, 2013

State officials are working to make sure people being released from prison will sign up for benefits during the 2014 Medicaid expansion. When the enrollment date for individual health plans rolls around in October, former inmates will also be eligible for health plans offered in state health care exchanges, another part of the “Obamacare” Affordable Care Act implementation. But health advocates say that at best it’s more likely they’ll be signing up for Medicaid, because of their low incomes. [...more]

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‘Rain tax’ on property owners for Bay cleanup survives attempt to delay it

April 9, 2013

An attempt to delay implementation of stormwater clean-up fees that will cost Maryland property owners millions come July failed in the legislature’s final day. The delay died after it was attached to a bill exempting nonprofits and government agencies from the fees called “the rain tax" by critics. [...more]

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Major gas tax hike sent to governor by Maryland Senate

March 29, 2013

Just 25 days after it was introduced, the Maryland Senate enacted the first gas tax hike in 21 years, sending the governor a 10 to 12 cent per gallon increase by 2015. The bill calls for the tax to go even higher -- it will rise automatically in future years. [...more]

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Granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants would continue under Senate bill

March 24, 2013

A bill continuing Maryland’s practice of granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants received preliminary approval from state senators Friday, paving the way for a final vote on the legislation. This Senate legislation was sponsored by Sen. Victor Ramirez, a longtime advocate for Maryland’s immigrant community who is once again facing resistance for his pro-immigrant policies from Republicans who argue that illegal immigrants should not receive the benefits of citizenship. [...more]

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Senate Finance Committee kills $3 hike in minimum wage

March 21, 2013

A bill to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $10 an hour died in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. It was defeated in an 8-3 vote with several senators explaining that they opposed the legislation in spite of their sympathy for low-wage workers because the timing was not right for a wage increase. [...more]

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Senate passes O’Malley budget with overwhelming support

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget passed the Senate in a landslide vote, with only five Republicans voting against it and seven Republicans voting in favor along with 35 of their Democratic colleagues. The passage of a $36.8 billion budget was preceded by an exceptionally short debate, which lasted only an hour and included no Republican proposals to cut state spending in fiscal year 2014. [...more]

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